Bandh without permission: High Court initiates suo motu case against PFI leaders

News Network
September 23, 2022

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The Kerala High Court on Friday, September 23, initiated a suo motu case against the leaders of Popular Front of India (PFI) for calling a one-day statewide bandh in Kerala, according to news agency ANI.

As per a Kerala High Court order, nobody can call for a bandh in the state without permission.

The hartal was called by the PFI to protest against the raids in the offices and residences of its leaders and their subsequent arrests on Thursday by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and other agencies.

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported in various parts of Kerala as the dawn-to-dusk hartal called by radical Islamic outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) was underway in the southern state on Friday.

Stones were pelted at Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses (KSRTC) in various districts including Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kozhikode, Wayanad, and Alappuzha. Local media reported that a petrol bomb was hurled at a vehicle which was carrying newspapers for distribution at Narayanpara in Kannur in the morning. In Alappuzha, KSRTC buses, a tanker lorry and some other vehicles got damaged in the stone pelting allegedly by those supporting the hartal call.

A 15-year-old girl and an auto-rickshaw driver suffered minor injuries in the stone pelting allegedly by PFI activists in Kozhikode and Kannur respectively. Meanwhile, Kerala police beefed up security in the state and issued directions to the district police chiefs to ensure law and order after the PFI called for a day-long state-wide hartal. A statement issued by the police said stern action will be taken against those who violate the law.

Local media reported that a petrol bomb was hurled at a vehicle which was carrying newspapers for distribution at Narayanpara in Kannur in the morning. In Alappuzha, KSRTC buses, a tanker lorry and some other vehicles got damaged in the stone pelting allegedly by those supporting the hartal call. 

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News Network
September 28,2022

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Jeddah, Sept 28: King Salman of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday named Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the Kingdom’s prime minister and appointed Prince Khalid bin Salman defence minister in a Cabinet reshuffle by royal decree.

The crown prince had previously been defense minister, and Prince Khalid was deputy defence minister. King Salman will continue to chair Cabinet meetings that he attends, the decree said.

The other major appointment in the reshuffle was that of Yousef bin Abdullah Al-Bunyan, chief executive of the Saudi chemical manufacturing company SABIC, as minister of education.

The ministers who retain their portfolios are the Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Minister of Investment Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud, and Minister of Finance Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan.

Prince Abdullah bin Bandar also remains as Minister of the National Guard, Walid Al-Samaani stays in his role as Minister of Justice, and Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh remains as Minister of Islamic Affairs.

Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan retains his post as Minister of Culture, and Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal keeps his role as Minister of Sports.

Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah will also stay in his role as Minister of Hajj and Umrah, and Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi also remains as Minister of Commerce.

Bandar bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef remains as Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Ahmed Al-Khateeb as Minister of Tourism, Faisal bin Fadhil Alibrahim as Minister of Economy and Planning, and Fahd bin Abdulrahman Al-Jalajel as Minister of Health.

The new defense minister, Prince Khalid, is a former Saudi ambassador to Washington. He graduated from the King Faisal Air Academy in Riyadh and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force.

The prince received his initial pilot training at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and advanced training at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi. He also studied advanced electronic warfare in France.

Previously, he was an F-15 pilot and tactical intelligence officer in the RSAF. Before a back injury ended his flying career, Prince Khaled flew more than 50 combat missions as part of the international coalition campaign against Daesh in Syria, and the Decisive Storm and Renewal of Hope operations in Yemen. 

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News Network
September 27,2022

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Thiruvananthapuram, Sept 27: Kerala's ruling CPI(M) on Tuesday said imposing a ban on an extremist organisation or a communal force would not put an end to its activities and if such a step has to be taken then RSS should be the first one to be banned.

CPI (M) state secretary M V Govindan's statement came amidst reports that the Centre was planning to include the Popular Front of India (PFI) in the list of terror outfits.

His statement also comes a day after BJP chief J P Nadda alleged that Kerala was now a "hotspot" of terrorism and fringe elements and life was not safe in the southern state.

"If an organisation has to be banned, then it has to be RSS. It is the main organisation carrying out communal activities. Will it be banned? Banning an extremist organisation will not address the problem. RSS has been banned in the past. The CPI has been banned. "Banning an organisation will not end it or its ideology. They would only come back with a new name or identity. We need to create awareness against such groups and take legal action against them when they commit any illegality," he told reporters.

The CPI (M) leader was referring to the ban on CPI in 1950 and the bans on RSS in pre and post-independence India. Govindan further said that RSS, BJP and the Sangh Parivar are presently seeking the ban on PFI.

"So if communal forces are to be banned, RSS will have to be the first one. But that is not going to happen in the present political scenario in the country," he added.

The CPI(M) state secretary further said that when two communal forces confront each other, they make each other stronger and "that is what is going on now" be it RSS or a minority communal group.

He also answered in the negative when asked whether the Left front joined hands with such organisations to win elections in local body polls.

PFI, whose hundreds of leaders were recently arrested and its offices raided across the country, had called a hartal in Kerala on September 23 during which its activists had allegedly engaged in widespread violence resulting in damage to buses, public property and even attacks on the general public.

Regarding what happened on September 23, Govindan said that while the government and the Left party were not against hartals, as everyone has the right to protest, it was not in favour of violence and destruction of property in the name of agitations.

"The Chief Minister has said strict action would be taken against those who engaged in violence during the hartal. Damaging buses, attacking passengers and destruction of public property is what happened in the name of hartal."

"Strict action will be taken against those involved," he said.

On Monday too, Govindan had said banning extremist organisations will not end their activities.

He had alleged that both majority and minority communal outfits were targeting the ruling Left in the state.

Govindan's statement had come amid growing demand for enforcing a ban on PFI following last week's raids and arrest of the outfit leaders by multi-agency teams, spearheaded by NIA, at 93 locations in 15 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.

Kerala, where the PFI has some strong pockets, accounted for the maximum number of 22 arrests.

The arrests were made by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and police forces of the states concerned.

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News Network
September 22,2022

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Bengaluru/ Mangaluru, Sept 22: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials are conducting raids on residences of the members of Popular Front of India (PFI) in Bengaluru, Manglauru, Karwar, Koppal and other parts of Karnataka.

The raids have been going on since the early hours of Thursday.

According to sources, the NIA sleuths visited houses of PFI leaders in Bajpe and Jokatte areas of Mangaluru.

The NIA action sparked protest by PFI workers in Mangaluru. The police took many protesters into custody.

The raids are being conducted in four places in Bengaluru city - a flat in an apartment on Kannur Main Road near Bagaluru, a flat belonging to Karnataka president Mohammed Shakib in Richmond Town, a house on Tannery Road and the residence of another member in Pulakeshinagar. 

Shakib was reportedly not in the house when the NIA officials conducted the raid. However, his wife, children and other family members were present. The officials have seized some documents from his house. 

Following the raid hundreds of supports of Shakib gathered infront of his house and staged a protest, raising 'Go back NIA' slogans. They said the raid is politically motivated. The Ashok Nagar police who were at the spot have stopped the protesters entering the premises. 

The officials are yet to reveal the findings so far.

The searches are being conducted on the leaders and members who are allegedly involved in radicalising and funding terror activities.

The NIA and Enforcement Directorate jointly conducted raids in a few places, according to sources. However, there is no official statement yet.

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